Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Colette Daiute

Subject Categories

Disability and Equity in Education | Early Childhood Education | Elementary Education | Elementary Education and Teaching | Gender Equity in Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Keywords

gender, narrative Inquiry, discipline, development, elementary, Pre-k, 8th grade, gender-bias, professional development, disciplinary procedures, narration, educators, curriculum

Abstract

Because behavioral discipline can impact children’s development, it is important to ensure that educators work in fair and unbiased ways with all children, across gender, race, and other groups. Biased disciplining of children’s behavior in classrooms can occur as micro-aggressions (McCabe, 2009), sometimes counter to what educators may believe about their own behavior. As a means of raising awareness of gender-biased treatment in classrooms, this thesis involved narrating – a dynamic activity that elicits accounts of events – and thus as a means of reflecting on behavior in everyday practices. Educators anonymously completed a questionnaire requesting narratives of various disciplinary situations they have encountered. The goal of gathering this data was to begin a database of educator-reported gender-focused events, to analyze the narratives, and, based on the analysis, create a professional development curriculum for educators to use to improve their own practice. The narrative analysis identified patterns of how the educators described problematic behaviors, student genders (via names and pronouns), student dress code violations, and student name-calling. The results indicate that educators characterized male and female students differently in disciplinary practices, in the descriptive language used, and used different disciplinary procedures. Examples of the analyzed differences were that female students were more often explained the rationale behind their discipline or negative behavior than male students and the majority of narratives about dress code included female student protagonists, in which sexuality is emphasized specifically in one narrative. Based on the research presented in Chapters 1 and 2, Chapter 3 presents a professional development program offering educators some guidance on identifying gender biases and related manifestations in classroom discipline practices.

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